Laptop for Photo Processing

Biro

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I've been running an all-Mac set-up (iMac, iPad, iPhone) for well over a decade. For the past seven years, I've been doing my photo processing on a 2011 iMac with an i7 chip, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD. It's done a fine job. But I'm beginning to notice processing/rendering for even still images is taking a bit longer these days. Nothing unacceptable, mind you, I'm just noticing things are taking a bit more time for the very first time.

For completely unrelated reasons - specifically because Sony firmware updates can be dicey on anything but a modern Windows machine - I recently picked up a 15.5-inch Lenovo Yoga 710 2-in-1 laptop on sale for $500 at Best Buy. It features a 7th-gen i5 7200U chip, 8GB of DDR4 SDRAM (2133 mhz and expandable to 16GB) and a 256 GB SSD. It's a decent machine for the price.

I'm now thinking about processing some of my photos from my as-yet-undelivered A7III on this new machine. I'd probably go with Capture One. Do we think the i5 chip and other specs will be good enough? I can easily max out the RAM to 16GB for less than $100. Any suggestions from the best and brightest here at Talk E-Mount?
 

bdbits

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The Lenovo line is one of the better Windows laptops available. I think you will be fine performance-wise.

I use Capture One on a 3-year old AMD processor, 16G of RAM, 256G SSD and a Radeon R9 270X GPU. Occasionally it will take a second to update the viewer after a change, but for most operations it more than keeps up. I am certain yours is a faster CPU. I would add the extra memory though - I noticed better performance when I went from 8G to 16G. (I use an A7ii so also 24M images.) I understand the discrete graphics is an option - Capture One will take advantage of that if you have it but you'd probably be fine without it. I believe the screen is IPS so I suspect it will be pretty good for photo editing.

You can run Capture One with all features for 30 days. Might as well give it a shot if you already have the laptop.
 

WNG

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I'd probably go with Capture One. Do we think the i5 chip and other specs will be good enough? I can easily max out the RAM to 16GB for less than $100. Any suggestions from the best and brightest here at Talk E-Mount?
I'm running Capture 1 and process 24Mp RAWs on far less horsepower than what you have and probably everyone else. My daily driver is a Dell Latitude business laptop with a 2nd gen i5 mobile cpu pushed to operate in turbo mode at 3.2GHz. It still only has 4 GB of DDR3, but it has been upgraded to a Sandisk 240 SSD. It serves as OS and app scratch disk with 1 TB of HDD archival storage. I use the onboard graphics to drive a 27" external monitor for photo editing.
Even without a dedicated GPU, Capture 1 has no measurable bottlenecks. Importing to the library takes 1 sec. per RAW file, a tick more for uncompressed RAWs from an A7ii.
There's no delay in editing changes in an open file. I will note that I'm running Win7 Pro instead of Win10 Pro. So, it's slightly more RAM friendly. A clean and lean install of Win10 takes up twice the amount of RAM compared to Win7 after booting. If I can manage on 'only' (showing my age!) 4GB of RAM, 8 GB should work...albeit, Win10 Pro 64-bit really needs a minimum of 8 GB to behave normally. If you can config it to 16 GB, it is recommended.

My old desktops which get little use these days, are older AMD Phenom II X4 3.4 and 3.0 GHz machines with 16 and 12 GB of RAM respectively. Just onboard graphics, conventional HDDs, and Win10 Pro. The additional RAM does make for a smoother running multi-tasking environment, ie. many tabs open in Firefox; Youtube video playing while editing in Capture 1. Even with such an old system, Capture 1 runs fine.

Specs-wise, you shouldn't have any speed issues running on the new Lenovo. The possible reason of a slow down in your iMac could be related to the patch releases issued for the bug with Intel CPUs making them vulnerable to hacks.

When you are running the laptop off AC power, be sure to select the high performance scheme under power saving settings. This will allow for higher clock speeds if the 7th gen i5 has turbo modes.
 

bdbits

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WNG, I know you said you run Win7 instead of Win10, but still, only 4G of RAM and things run fine? Many things do run fine on 4G to be sure, but I would have thought photo editing would be craving more RAM. I even noticed a small bump going from 8 to 16 but I do tend to keep a lot of stuff loaded all the time, so it may have been some contention for full working memory.

Also, do you never notice even a momentary delay in applying a change? I have to look for it, does not bother me, and it is sub-second, but I sometimes see a bit more detail pop in after an image-wide edit (e.g. adding grain or clarity). Maybe I need to look at optimizing something, or perhaps I messed up my GPU overclock. I will have to play with that a little and see.
 

WNG

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WNG, I know you said you run Win7 instead of Win10, but still, only 4G of RAM and things run fine? Many things do run fine on 4G to be sure, but I would have thought photo editing would be craving more RAM. I even noticed a small bump going from 8 to 16 but I do tend to keep a lot of stuff loaded all the time, so it may have been some contention for full working memory.

Also, do you never notice even a momentary delay in applying a change? I have to look for it, does not bother me, and it is sub-second, but I sometimes see a bit more detail pop in after an image-wide edit (e.g. adding grain or clarity). Maybe I need to look at optimizing something, or perhaps I messed up my GPU overclock. I will have to play with that a little and see.
Hey Bob,
Yes, everything runs well. I do have my OS tweaked for speed with minimal background tasks. I only have Microsoft Security Essentials, Veracrypt, a Logitech driver, Syncback, and OneDrive running at startup. Unnecessary services switched off or to manual. I keep it classic windows and not use Aero, which is a resource hog. The old desktop environment is ray-tracing based and much more efficient. Also windows animations disabled. Most unnecessary Windows sounds disabled too. With no apps running, it consumes between 750-900 MB. With only Capture 1 loaded, I still have 2 GB left.
The laptop is running at high and not at Balanced. So the CPU is always overclocking to 3.2 GHz instead of its normal 2.5 GHz. This make a noticeable difference.

Editing changes are like you stated in under a second. The longer wait is when I zoom in and out from Fit to 50% to 100%. That take about 2 sec. for the image to refresh.
Exporting to JPEG at 98% quality takes 15 sec. per file. I guess that's a bit too long of a wait for some people. :)
I will say, Intel's implementation of on-chip graphics is much better than the on-board/ IGP bridge chips for the older AMD systems. The later APU line was probably more inline with the Intel Core CPUs.
 

bdbits

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OK Will, that all makes sense to me. Definitely tweaked more than most would ever think of doing, but I can see where that could get you acceptable performance. I have heard the Intel on-chip graphics are much better than days of old, when they were pretty horrible. I have a separate GPU with my AMD FX-6300, and I have an i5 with discrete graphics on my work laptop. So I have not been using on-board GPUs on either platform for the last couple of years.

This is probably a lot more than Biro was asking for but its interesting to old geeks like me. :cool:
 

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